16 Jan 2013Powercor Australia, the electricity distribution business responsible for maintaining the network in the Ballarat region, has informed the Committee for Ballarat of its smart meter rollout. Installation of smart meters in Victoria started in October 2009, under a Victorian Government mandate. To date, Powercor has installed around 860,000 meters in Melbourne, central Victoria, Western Victoria, Geelong and the Surf Coast, with a combined customer satisfaction rating of 79% for December 2012. In 2011, the Victorian Government conducted a review of the Smart Meter Program. The review included a cost benefit analysis and looked into installation safety and privacy concerns. The review found that community benefits outweigh the cost of the rollout and that smart meters are safe. As a result, the Victorian Government has announced that the rollout would continue. All business and residential premises are now required to have their conventional meter replaced with a new digital smart meter by December 2013. In our recent discussions, Powercor confirmed that 21 days prior the scheduled meter installation, Ballarat business customers will receive a first letter inviting them to make an appointment on-line for the meter exchange to minimise disruption. 12 days before installation, a second letter will confirm the details of the appointment. Smart meter installation in other States has recently been advocated at a Federal level as an important step to help consumers shift part of their electricity usage from peak to off peak. As well as driving advanced digital metering in future years, smart meters will support electricity consumption monitoring through devices such as In Home Displays and gateway devices, solar panel operations and help in direct load control. More longer term, smart meters will be a tool supporting new technologies such as electric cars and digital household appliances. Ballarat business customers can contact Powercor on 1300 783 882 if they have any concerns or visit: www.powercor.com.au/smartmeters for further information.